Can adults with developmental dyslexia apply statistical knowledge to a new context?

Rachel Schiff, Hadar Cohen, Shani Kahta, Ayelet Sasson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We investigated transfer of artificial grammar learning in adults with and without dyslexia in 3 experiments. In Experiment 1, participants implicitly learned an artificial grammar system and were tested on new items that included the same symbols. In Experiment 2, participants were given practice with letter strings and then tested on strings created with a different letter set. In Experiment 3, participants were given practice with shapes and then tested on strings created with different shapes. Results show that in Experiment 1, both groups demonstrated utilization of pre-trained instances in the subsequent grammaticality judgement task, while in Experiments 2 (orthographic) and 3 (nonorthographic), only typically developed participants demonstrated application of knowledge from training to test. A post hoc analysis comparing between the experiments suggests that being trained and tested on an orthographic task leads to better performance than a nonorthographic task among typically developed adults but not among adults with dyslexia. Taken together, it appears that following extensive training, individuals with dyslexia are able to form stable representations from sequential stimuli and use them in a subsequent task that utilizes strings of similar symbols. However, the manipulation of the symbols challenges this ability.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)129-145
Number of pages17
JournalCognitive Processing
Issue number1
Early online date7 Nov 2022
StatePublished - Feb 2023


  • Adults
  • Artificial grammar learning (AGL)
  • Developmental dyslexia (DD)
  • Orthographic/nonorthographic stimuli
  • Statistical learning
  • Transfer

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Cognitive Neuroscience


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